Having already revealed that it has offered the Indy Racing League a 'total solution package' for its planned revamp of the cars used in the IZOD IndyCar Series, Lola has now provided images of its 2012 concept.
The proposed Lola B12/00 and B12/01 designs are intended to be 'aero performance balanced' cars that will allow the IRL to return to the sort of close racing that became its trademark until recent seasons, but retain the safety, efficiency, styling and affordability that have been at the forefront of many Lola projects.
At the heart of Lola's proposal is a dual bodystyle concept developed extensively by Lola engineers to work on all types of circuit that the IndyCar Series visits. The work has already received positive comment from the IndyCar fan fraternity, but faces opposition from rival constructors Swift, Dallara and DeltaWing, who radical concept apparently has the backing of many team owners.
The two Lola designs use the same common chassis, while parity in aero performance will be maintained across the ride height range to ensure that no advantage is gained by either kit. Both styles can be raced without technical advantage and with different engines, while common parts throughout will enable teams to switch upper surface styles should they choose to do so. Meanwhile, work continues within Lola on futuristic designs to continue to challenge current thinking.
The IndyCar chassis will also achieve added benefit by being eligible for the Firestone Indy Lights Championship, in essence meaning that Indy Lights teams will be able to graduate more cost effectively to the senior series, while allowing teams to find it more commercially attractive to enter cars in both series and enticing new entries, potentially ensuring a full entry for the Indy 500.
Central to Lola's extensive aerodynamic research has been the necessity to guarantee close and exciting racing, and it hopes that wheel-to-wheel duels on the variety of circuits that the IndyCar Series races on will become the norm rather than the exception. Focusing on the rear underbody, designers have found a cost-effective and simple breakthrough to ensure that there is a minimum wake for following cars to contend with. This means that drafting and slipstreaming will be in the drivers own hands rather than that of the aerodynamics itself.
Safety has always been a key part of Lola's 51-year history, and a focus on reducing the susceptibility of a 'take-off' scenario has been conducted to further protect drivers and spectators. Lola USA has pinpointed specific areas using CFD methods to ensure a high yaw angle stability is maintained on the car. Less variation to total aero load on the rear wing will be optimised with pitch angle changes. Enhanced rear crash structures, a long front nosebox and increased head protection have also been included.
As well as releasing further technical details of its concept, Lola also confirmed that it will be selecting a new assembly facility in the USA, while discussions with US component suppliers are at an advanced level. The company, which is headquartered in Huntingdon in the UK, has also been working with high-tech universities to work on environmentally sustainable materials and other green technologies.
“For Lola, it is imperative that fans enjoy the cars and a great racing spectacle at trackside and on TV,” executive chairman Martin Birrane commented, “Lola has endeavoured to capture the great spirit and heritage of IndyCar racing in its thorough commercial and engineering studies. With its vast experience in producing powerful single-seaters, Lola is proud to be considered as a partner in writing the next chapter for the IndyCar nation.”